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Question How to install a load balancing router for home use?

lwalker

Member
Jan 4, 2003
28
3
71
Here’s what I got going on.

My current internet provider is Century Link. With a pair bonding modem I’m achieving download speeds of up to 20Mb and upload speeds up to 2Mb. The download speed is ok, but we’ve been running into issues with the upload speed. Additionally, I would like to add some high bandwidth items like security cameras to our home network.

Last week I was able to sign up for the Starlink Beta program. Both upload and download speeds will be significantly faster than my current provider, but unfortunately the reliability doesn‘t look like it’s quite ready to be our full time provider (wife's occupation requires a stable connection.) So ideally, I’d like to keep my Century link provider and use it in conjunction with the Starlink provider up until the Starlink is reliable enough to handle the job by itself.

My current setup-
Century Link Modem—>Trendnet TEG-S24g gigabit switch
I have these devices plugged into the switch
- eero mesh network router (bridge mode)
- silicon dust HD Homerun Tuner (allows me to view over the air antenna stations over my network)
- synologyDS218+ NAS box (main purpose is to enable tveverywhere capabilities via Channels Live TV software)
- TVs and computers

I've gotten lucky so far. Everything works like it should despite me not really knowing a damn thing about networking. Give credit to the tech support from each company.

I’ve been reading up on load balancing routers and a hoping someone here can steer me towards the specific model that would work best for my purpose. I suppose it is wishful thinking, but it‘d be great if I could just connect each of the Century Link and Starlink modems into the WAN ports of the load balancing router and then connect the load balancing router to my switch. All I’m looking for is load balancing. If the starlink fails, I need the century link to keep on going.

Any advice or direction will be sincerely appreciated.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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Its called dual wan... you want something with dual wan.
It will not double your wan speed... like 1+1=2 its more like 1+1 = 1,1
But you want a router with dual wan support.

Next question we should ask is how good is your networking knowledge, and how proficient are you at googlefu with youtube minor.
Cisco makes nice stuff:

So does Ubiquiti, but Ubiquiti will take a lot of googlefu and youtube videos to setup properly if your not proficient in networking.
Cisco will also take a bit of googlefu, but its pretty much the network gold standard.
 
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SamirD

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Jun 12, 2019
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It's no longer called dual-wan anymore as most devices will run even more wan connections, so today it's known as multi-wan. I've been running multi-wan setups since 2004, so I've got extensive experience with it as well as trying to solve upload issues like you're doing because that's why I went multi-wan back in the first place in 2004.

Things have improved a lot since 2004 and while the rv-series from Cisco has improved a lot since the v1 rv016 that I was running, there are limitations in each vendors multi-wan implementation that are important to consider for each use case.

For example, the rv-series could bind a particular destination address to a particular wan. While netgear units could bind a different way. For a standard failover backup, you don't really need bonding, but failovers are a waste of bandwidth imo since if you're paying for two connections and not getting the benefit of them 24x7, it's a bit of a waste. One of the things you can do with binding is have your wife's traffic go out through the centurylink since ping times will probably be less, while at the same time uploads would use both connections to maximize what you need.

Feel free to ask questions and I'll share what I know. :)
 
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mv2devnull

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Apr 13, 2010
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I believe that this page is older than 2004. Can't recall when I did first stumble on it. Point is that the technology is not new, but as said different vendors support it to different levels. "Select check-box for dual-wan" is simple and convenient, yet limited.
 
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lwalker

Member
Jan 4, 2003
28
3
71
Thank you for the replies. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to help me out. I apologize in advance for my ignorance. I have little to no network knowledge. I do have a co-worker that is network trained and I can ask him for help, but want to do as much myself as I can.

I have read with great interest what you've had to say. For simplicity sake, maybe it would be easier if I started from the other direction.

Let's say I purchase this router:


I'm assuming basic setup is to plug in my 2 modems to the WAN ports and then connect the LAN port to my switch.

From that point, how much configuration do I need to have a setup where if the Starlink connection fails, the Century Link automatically takes over?

Thanks again!
 
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aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
19,225
1,614
126
Thank you for the replies. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to help me out. I apologize in advance for my ignorance. I have little to no network knowledge. I do have a co-worker that is network trained and I can ask him for help, but want to do as much myself as I can.

I have read with great interest what you've had to say. For simplicity sake, maybe it would be easier if I started from the other direction.

Let's say I purchase this router:
These two points in TPLink are absolute garbage...
The Omada controller is garbage. Its like a POS software that tries to be "enterprise" but was designed by consumer level programmers, which only ended up pissing off and annoying people who knows even half of how to setup a proper router.

  • 【Integrated into Omada SDN】Omada’s Software Defined Networking (SDN) platform integrates network devices, including gateways, access points & switches. Pick your preferred method of network management from these Omada offerings - Omada hardware controller, Omada software controller or Omada cloud-based controller. Standalone Mode also applies.
  • 【Cloud Based Controller】Zero-Touch provisioning (coming soon) allows remote deployment and configuration of multi-site networks. AI-Driven Technology (coming soon) delivers stronger performance and easy network maintenance. Additional fees apply for use of cloud-based controller.
AT least it will go in stand alone mode, but if you do get it, i suggest you stay far far away from the Omada Software.
Also i will say this once and once again.. unless its a dummy 5 port switch, and even then sometimes it even applies to them.
You ALWAYS get exactly how much you pay for.
So comparing a 54 dollar router to the 240 dollar router should speak leagues for itself.
 
Last edited:

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,661
248
106
If you want to learn more about networking, I would say setup a Pfsense system. You can easily find something on ebay for around $100 that will work (Dell 7020 Small Form Factor systems are a good bet), usually just needing a hard drive and proper network card (an Intel quad-port gigabit card is recommended, watch a few youtube videos on pfsense and almost all of them will recommend the same quad port card). It shouldn't cost more than $200-250 total.

That said, if you don't want to learn up on pfsense and networking, you are much better off with consumer grade setup where-in you can call up/email for support.
 

lwalker

Member
Jan 4, 2003
28
3
71
These two points in TPLink are absolute garbage...
The Omada controller is garbage. Its like a POS software that tries to be "enterprise" but was designed by consumer level programmers, which only ended up pissing off and annoying people who knows even half of how to setup a proper router.

  • 【Integrated into Omada SDN】Omada’s Software Defined Networking (SDN) platform integrates network devices, including gateways, access points & switches. Pick your preferred method of network management from these Omada offerings - Omada hardware controller, Omada software controller or Omada cloud-based controller. Standalone Mode also applies.
  • 【Cloud Based Controller】Zero-Touch provisioning (coming soon) allows remote deployment and configuration of multi-site networks. AI-Driven Technology (coming soon) delivers stronger performance and easy network maintenance. Additional fees apply for use of cloud-based controller.
AT least it will go in stand alone mode, but if you do get it, i suggest you stay far far away from the Omada Software.
Also i will say this once and once again.. unless its a dummy 5 port switch, and even then sometimes it even applies to them.
You ALWAYS get exactly how much you pay for.
So comparing a 54 dollar router to the 240 dollar router should speak leagues for itself.
I completely agree with you on getting what we pay for. I'm trying to find the balance between cost and features and keeping in mind that I'll only need it until the Starlink is out of beta phase (hopefully less than a year.)

Is there a different product you'd recommend that's more in the $100-$125 price range? Or is it simply something I should just accept as going to be $200+?
 
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lwalker

Member
Jan 4, 2003
28
3
71
If you want to learn more about networking, I would say setup a Pfsense system. You can easily find something on ebay for around $100 that will work (Dell 7020 Small Form Factor systems are a good bet), usually just needing a hard drive and proper network card (an Intel quad-port gigabit card is recommended, watch a few youtube videos on pfsense and almost all of them will recommend the same quad port card). It shouldn't cost more than $200-250 total.

That said, if you don't want to learn up on pfsense and networking, you are much better off with consumer grade setup where-in you can call up/email for support.
Thank you
 
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lwalker

Member
Jan 4, 2003
28
3
71
It's no longer called dual-wan anymore as most devices will run even more wan connections, so today it's known as multi-wan. I've been running multi-wan setups since 2004, so I've got extensive experience with it as well as trying to solve upload issues like you're doing because that's why I went multi-wan back in the first place in 2004.

Things have improved a lot since 2004 and while the rv-series from Cisco has improved a lot since the v1 rv016 that I was running, there are limitations in each vendors multi-wan implementation that are important to consider for each use case.

For example, the rv-series could bind a particular destination address to a particular wan. While netgear units could bind a different way. For a standard failover backup, you don't really need bonding, but failovers are a waste of bandwidth imo since if you're paying for two connections and not getting the benefit of them 24x7, it's a bit of a waste. One of the things you can do with binding is have your wife's traffic go out through the centurylink since ping times will probably be less, while at the same time uploads would use both connections to maximize what you need.

Feel free to ask questions and I'll share what I know. :)
I agree it seems a waste to not get the benefit of the 2nd connection, but maybe the failover will get me by. I just need to make sure my wife doesn't lose her connection while in a zoom meeting. Do you have a particular unit you'd recommend for this?
 

SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
1,487
276
96
www.huntsvillecarscene.com
Thank you for the replies. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to help me out. I apologize in advance for my ignorance. I have little to no network knowledge. I do have a co-worker that is network trained and I can ask him for help, but want to do as much myself as I can.

I have read with great interest what you've had to say. For simplicity sake, maybe it would be easier if I started from the other direction.

Let's say I purchase this router:


I'm assuming basic setup is to plug in my 2 modems to the WAN ports and then connect the LAN port to my switch.

From that point, how much configuration do I need to have a setup where if the Starlink connection fails, the Century Link automatically takes over?

Thanks again!
Very simple actually. I'm sure the tl-r600 is similar in interface to the 605, so check this out:

Go under Transmission-->Load Balancing-->Link Backup to see the settings.
 

SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
1,487
276
96
www.huntsvillecarscene.com
These two points in TPLink are absolute garbage...
The Omada controller is garbage. Its like a POS software that tries to be "enterprise" but was designed by consumer level programmers, which only ended up pissing off and annoying people who knows even half of how to setup a proper router.

  • 【Integrated into Omada SDN】Omada’s Software Defined Networking (SDN) platform integrates network devices, including gateways, access points & switches. Pick your preferred method of network management from these Omada offerings - Omada hardware controller, Omada software controller or Omada cloud-based controller. Standalone Mode also applies.
  • 【Cloud Based Controller】Zero-Touch provisioning (coming soon) allows remote deployment and configuration of multi-site networks. AI-Driven Technology (coming soon) delivers stronger performance and easy network maintenance. Additional fees apply for use of cloud-based controller.
AT least it will go in stand alone mode, but if you do get it, i suggest you stay far far away from the Omada Software.
Also i will say this once and once again.. unless its a dummy 5 port switch, and even then sometimes it even applies to them.
You ALWAYS get exactly how much you pay for.
So comparing a 54 dollar router to the 240 dollar router should speak leagues for itself.
I agree that this particular TP-Link router would not be ideal if you want a robust solution, but to just understand the concept I think it works for that. :)
 

SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
1,487
276
96
www.huntsvillecarscene.com
If you want to learn more about networking, I would say setup a Pfsense system. You can easily find something on ebay for around $100 that will work (Dell 7020 Small Form Factor systems are a good bet), usually just needing a hard drive and proper network card (an Intel quad-port gigabit card is recommended, watch a few youtube videos on pfsense and almost all of them will recommend the same quad port card). It shouldn't cost more than $200-250 total.

That said, if you don't want to learn up on pfsense and networking, you are much better off with consumer grade setup where-in you can call up/email for support.
And there are some ready made pfsense boxes like those from netgate that can be an option as well. It's very interesting how this thread is almost a parallel of another on another forum right now. :)
 

SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
1,487
276
96
www.huntsvillecarscene.com
I completely agree with you on getting what we pay for. I'm trying to find the balance between cost and features and keeping in mind that I'll only need it until the Starlink is out of beta phase (hopefully less than a year.)

Is there a different product you'd recommend that's more in the $100-$125 price range? Or is it simply something I should just accept as going to be $200+?
Starlink won't have better pings than a wired service--that's just the nature of wireless communications, so I wouldn't bet on it. Plus, I wouldn't bet on not wanting a dual setup from now on if you already invested in the hardware.

The problem with cost is that you have a 1Gbps line. I have seen brand new open box fortigates that can do this for under $200, but you will need to learn those and the learning curve is a bit steep imo.
 

SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
1,487
276
96
www.huntsvillecarscene.com
I agree it seems a waste to not get the benefit of the 2nd connection, but maybe the failover will get me by. I just need to make sure my wife doesn't lose her connection while in a zoom meeting. Do you have a particular unit you'd recommend for this?
Failover is actually one of the hardest things to get right on any multi-wan system with any active connections because once a wan goes down, it will break the connection. The idea behind multi-wan though is that she can simply reconnect that connection and it will automatically use the working connection versus the non-working one.

It is in this scenario that I think failover does a really poor job since it has to fail and bring up the entire wan versus just that particular session as it would in a load balance situation. Since load balance is always working, it is always actively checking each session for an issue versus using a timeout ping to a particular address or gateway.
 

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